Bitcoin Cash Forked Splitting Into Two Blockchains

News and Analysis

A hard fork has taken place on the Bitcoin Cash network, resulting in the creation of two separate coins: Bitcoin ABC (BCHABC) and Bitcoin SV (BCHSV).

The hard fork was activated 18:02 UTC on Thursday, November 15, on block 556,766 that was mined by SVPool and became the last block for Bitcoin Cash. The first Bitcoin ABC block was added by pool, and minutes later Mempool mined the first Bitcoin SV block, confirming the fork.

The implementation put out by leading Bitcoin Cash developer group Bitcoin ABC introduces a series of technical upgrades to the network, including a reordering of transactions to increase block capacity as well as additional code to support greater interoperability between cryptocurrencies.

The other implementation, dubbed Bitcoin “Satoshi’s Vision” (Bitcoin SV), rejects these changes to instead restore retired code from the original Bitcoin protocol and increases the block size from 32 MB to 128 MB.

In the build-up to the hard fork, threats of chain sabotage by avid Bitcoin SV supporter Craig Wright suggested the potential use of hash power to mine both a Bitcoin SV chain and create empty blocks on an opposing Bitcoin ABC chain, which could fatally damage operations on the opposing network.

At the same time, Roger Ver, one of the main proponents of the Bitcoin ABC implementation, said just before the hard fork that his mining pool had sent significant amounts of hash rate to support the BCHABC chain.

Nevertheless, immediately after the Bitcoin Cash hard fork activation, ABC Network suffered spam attack when the blocks on its chain started filling up with meaninglessly small transactions, CCN reported. The method of attack seemed to be repeatedly sending transactions between the same addresses. This address, for instance, received 500 of the earliest spam transactions. It then appeared to send transactions to itself.

Given the large block size limit of Bitcoin Cash in general, it would take a lot more spam transactions than this to actually have a truly negative impact on the network. Over an extended period of time, 2 to 3 weeks or more, however, this spam attack could have a negative impact in that it would fill up the hard drives of Bitcoin ABC full nodes, or if the breadth of it were increased it could potentially impact the cost of BCH transactions as well as the availability of block space. As a rule, however, Bitcoin ABC is not opposed to future block size increases.

At this time there are no suspects in the spam attack, which technically began before the fork but increased in intensity following it. Bitcoin ABC mined more blocks in the interim, so it provides more data regarding transactions. It is also apparent that there are no dedicated Bitcoin Cash SV block explorers just yet (aside from CoinDance, which shows SV processing a number of large blocks but does not provide data on the individual transactions), making it difficult to determine whether this attack is affecting both chains or just ABC.

Notably, Bitcoin ABC lead developer Amaury Séchet has earlier refused to rule out changing BCH’s Proof-of-Work (PoW) hashing algorithm as a “nuclear option” to protect the ABC chain if SV-backed miners successfully mount a disruptive attack on its network.

As of Friday morning, the ABC side was well over 50 blocks ahead of the SV chain

Meanwhile both Bitfinex and Poloniex exchanges credited users’ accounts with BAB и BSV coins, while Bitcoin Cash trading was stopped.

According to numbers on Poloniex, the comparative value estimated of both Bitcoin Cash cryptocurrencies at press time (06:45 AM UTC on Friday, November 16) stood at 0.01375513 BTC for Bitcoin SV and 0.05072149 5 for Bitcoin ABC.

Depending on ongoing hash power support and implementation of either software upgrade from users, prices could continue to see swings – but given the uniqueness of the scenario, it’s difficult to say at this time.

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